After failing to earn enough money this year to retain his PGA Tour card, Kevin Kisner wanted to make a return trip to the big leagues.
The Aiken resident won’t have to wait long. With a final-round 67 in the final stage of the PGA Tour’s Q-School, Kisner tied for 11th place to earn fully-exempt status for the 2012 PGA season.
“Once you’re out there and get a taste of it, you don’t want to give it up,” said Kisner, who finished 181st on the money list in his rookie season. “I’m looking forward to going out there next year and hanging out with a few friends.”
He will be joined by Vaughn Taylor, who tied for fifth; Will Claxton, who tied for 18th; and Scott Brown of North Augusta, who earned his 2012 PGA card by finishing eighth on the Nationwide Tour money list.
Other players with area ties on the PGA Tour next year include Blake Adams, Brian Gay and Charles Howell.
Kisner rebounded from a fourth-round 75 with 69 on Sunday and found himself in a tie for 24th to start the final round. In windy conditions, Kisner shot 5-under
on the front nine and finished at 12-under for the tournament.
“I got off to a great start and didn’t want to be too aggressive,” Kisner said. “Then down the stretch it’s almost like you’re trying to hold on.”
PGA veteran Taylor had lost his card after finishing 148th on the money list. The Evans resident opened the final stage of Q-School with 65 and followed with rounds of 72-69-73-70-69. He finished at 14-under, three shots behind winner Brendon Todd.
Kisner and Todd represented half of the University of Georgia contingent to earn 2012 PGA cards, along with Brian Harman and Harris English.
Claxton, a Swainsboro High graduate who played collegiate golf at Auburn, opened the final stage with 64 and led after each of the first four rounds. He fell into a tie for fifth after carding 75 on Sunday, then shot 73 in the final round.
Roberto Castro and Mark Anderson earned their PGA cards by finishing in the top 25 on the Nationwide money list and entered Q-School looking to improve their status, so they did not count among the top 27 players and ties receiving PGA cards for next season.
Augusta’s Scott Parel missed getting his PGA card by one shot, finishing tied for 30th after carding 74. He will have fully-exempt status on the Nationwide Tour.
Aiken’s Matt Hendrix tied for 129th. He will have conditional status on the Nationwide Tour next year.